Thursday, January 29, 2015

'Carrying a fridge up an icy mountain'...

In the name of God, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate; blessing and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.
"I have only created Jinns and Men, that they may serve Me." (Zariyat 51:56)

Years ago when I was an undergraduate at a local university, one of our lecturers introduced to us 'creative thinking'. I remembered one topic he asked us to write was based on the saying 'carrying a refrigerator up an icy mountain'. 

Now upon reaching 53 years of age next month (February) and after following perhaps thousands of talks and 'tazkirah' (lessons) mainly at masjids, offices and over radio and TV, 'Subhanallah (Glory be to Allah SWT) slowly but surely I had learned to 'feel, experience and witness' the truth in the wise man's saying.

'Alhamdulillah' (All praise is due to Allah SWT), this time in discussing the above subject, I am equipped with information, explaination and argument from the many 'tazkirah' of 'ustazs' (religious teachers) that I had followed over the years. 

'Insya-Allah' (Allah SWT willing) lessons by the 'ustazs' were based on the the Qur'an and the 'hadith' therefore hopefully this article would be a more matured and meaningful 'muzakarah' (discussion) under the subject 'carrying a refrigerator up an icy mountain' compared to what I had written during my 'green and secular' university years. During those years, I wrote mainly based on my 'little knowledge and experience' and 'crude mind'.

Well, my dear brothers and sisters, let us have a quick look at the Qur'an in describing the state of human beings based on Surah Al-'Asr (The Declining Day). It says with the meaning: "By the declining day; Lo! Man is in a state of loss; Save those who believe and do good works, and exhort one another to truth and exhort one another to endurance."

'Subhanallah', everyone is in the state of loss except those with the four traits mentioned in 'Surah Al-'Asr. All our deeds and actions were of no benefit; only lately I realized that everything we do must in line with Allah's orders and to be able to do that we must follow what the Qur'an and Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. had showed and set to us (hadiths). 

Alas, as a 'layman' with many handicaps (for example as I have no knowledge of Arabic); it is not proper for me to refer directly to the Qur'an and hadiths for an interpretation, but to have audience with learned people such as 'ustazs' who would give explaination from the Qur'an and hadiths. Alhamdulillah, this time around my arguments is based on lessons by the many 'ustazs' and 'ustazahs' (female religious teachers) I had followed.

Before we continue, let us look at the general meaning of the phrase 'carrying a refrigerator up an icy mountain'. It simply means that many of us in our daily lives do improper or in a harsh language 'stupid things' - what's the point in burdening ourselves with doing things or chasing things we actually do not need. Do we need a fridge on top of an icy mountain?

Perhaps some readers might laugh off at some of the 'improper' things that I would write, but again it is up to you dear readers to think and decide about it. For the practising Muslims, they pray at least five times daily; one phrase they read during prayers is 'Inna solati, wanusuki, wamahyaya, wamamati, Lillahirabbil ‘alamin (My prayer and my sacrifice and my life and my death are all for Allah, the Lord of the worlds).

Well, what's the purpose we are sent into this world? In 'ayah' 56 Surah of Surah l-dhāriyāt (The Wind that Scatter) Allah SWT says: "And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me."

Our journey in this world is to please Allah SWT before 'we met' Him in the Hereafter; therefore should we burdened ourselves carrying 'unnecessary items' just like a person carrying a refrigerator on his back up an icy mountain!

Let us look at some of 'the burden' we carry in life in our way 'to meet' Allah SWT. One negative trait that is part of many of us is greedy; we are greedy for almost everything, from power, position, properties, monies and so on.  

During his Isra' and Mi'raj journey accompanied by Angel Jibril, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. saw a man who had gathered a stack of wood which he could not carry, yet he was adding more wood to it. He asked: "What is this, O Jibril?" He replied: "This is a man from your community who gets people's trusts when he cannot fulfill them, yet he insists on carrying them."

There are many negative traits in us but in this article let us discuss about greedy. We are greedy of things which actually we do not need in this world what's more in the Hereafter. Let me illustrate by giving a very simple example.

In upbringing our family we need a house to shelter us from shine and rain but many people are not satisfied with a house, they try to have two, three, four, five and so on. Then there are others who do not own one or two cars for their family but they have three, four, five and so. The same could be said with other worldly pleasures.

There is a hadith on greed; Anas bin Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “If the son of Adam had a valley full of gold, he would like to have two valleys for nothing fills his mouth except dust. Allah will forgive whoever repents to Him.” (Sahih Bukhari 6075, Sahih Muslim 1048)

In their jest to have all those worldly possession they are willing to do all sort of things including 'haram' (forbidden) ways. Some would forget the fact why Allah SWT sent them into this world. In fulfilling their busy schedules they have no time for Allah SWT such as performing their 'solat' (saying their prayers) and even for their own families. Some would work and work and 'nauzubillah' (Allah forbids) perhaps would only realize their folly when their were inside their graves!

Actually the basic needs of human are only food, clothing and shelter but almost all of us prefer more. Perhaps a house or a car for a family is enough but we love to have more. Many of us do not realize that 'these worldly possession' are actually a burden in our journey 'to meet' Allah SWT in the Hereafter.

Take an example, if we bring lots of luggage at the airport we would be checked thoroughly by the customs officers and that would take time even if 'they were clean' compared with a person with nothing to declare, he would 'breeze off' easily. Yes, owning a lot of properties 'would slow' our journey in the Hereafter what's more if they are possessed by 'haram' means.

We came 'with nothing' into this world (the state at which we were born) and would be back (die) carrying nothing. During our funeral, three things would follow us - our worldly possession including positions and ranks, our relatives and our good deeds - the first two would 'go back', only the last one would be of benefit to us when we are alone inside our graves. So, do we need to carry a refrigerator up an icy mountain?

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